My next morning in Japan, my aunt cooked up some chilled somen noodles and veggies for a late breakfast and delivered it all to my door. She and my uncle also brought over some freshly picked purple figs. The whole time I was there – well into October – their cherry tomatoes out in the garden were absolutely thriving. I had heard that fruit and veggies were pricier in Japan so I was expecting to have to go without for the duration of my trip, but this turned out not to be an issue at all as I was lucky enough to hit the harvest season, the most fruitful time of the year.
I used the tomatoes in a pasta for lunch, along with green onions, eggplants, and spinach, flavoured with Indian spices that I picked up at an international foods store. For dessert I made a fruit salad with the purple figs, apples and nashi pears.
My aunt also brought over some homemade fig jelly that she had hardened with kanten, a natural vegan substitute for gelatin that is used widely in Japanese desserts.
Then, she took me to Costco. It was such a neat experience – the layout of the store is exactly the same, and yet half of the products are things I would never find in the Vancouver Costco. Their shelves were filled with all kinds of awesome Japanese goods: sembei (rice crackers), Japanese sweets, udon noodles…they even had fresh sushi in the deli section where I would normally find things like pizza or salads.
Here was my Costco haul for the day: Kombu, nori, a whole bag of fresh shiitake mushrooms, brown rice, bananas, coffee, wine, and anpan (sweet buns filled with a paste made of azuki beans).